Trumpeter Swans were once fairly common throughout most of the northern United States and Canada, but nesting populations were seriously depleted during the 19th century, when swan skins were sold in the European fur trade and used to make ladies’ powder puffs. The birds’ feathers were used to adorn fashionable hats, and the largest flight feathers made what were considered to be the highest quality quill pens.
By 1900, it was widely believed that Trumpeter Swans had become extinct. However, a small nonmigratory population survived in the remote mountain valleys of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. A migratory population nested in Alaska and Canada. The U.S. government protected these birds and their habitat, and in the latter half of the 20th century, Trumpeters were transplanted to other suitable locations. next page >>